Ed Sheeran Wins Copyright Case Over Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’
Singer Ed Sheeran has been found not liable in a copyright infringement lawsuit over his hit 2014 song “Thinking Out Loud” after facing accusations that he plagiarized Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”
The verdict, reported by multiple outlets, came after a weeklong trial in Manhattan federal court, was delivered Thursday after a short deliberation by the jury.
“Thinking Out Loud,” off Sheeran’s sophomore album “X” (pronounced “multiply”), faced accusations from the estate of the late musician Ed Townsend, who co-wrote the 1970’s hit with Gaye, that the 2014 hit copied melody, harmony and rhythm. The same group has been successful in suits of Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke over “Blurred Lines,” which they claimed copied Gaye’s 1977 song “Got To Give It Up.”
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Sheeran took the stand and played his guitar to demonstrate the harmonic progressions of “Thinking Out Loud,” and how they are similar to those of other pop songs — from artists like Nina Simone, Bill Withers and Van Morrison — in addition to “Let’s Get It On.”
Sheeran’s team presented testimony from expert musicologists, whose findings deemed the two songs not substantially similar. Sheeran expressed irritation with the accusation.
“I find it really insulting to devote my whole life to being a performer and a songwriter and have someone diminish it,” he said Monday at the trial, according to the Daily Mail.
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The “Bad Habits” singer also said he would quit music if he was found liable of copyright infringement.
“If that happens, I’m done, I’m stopping,” he said.
Sheeran’s latest album “-” (pronounced “Subtract”) releases Friday (May 5). A documentary about his musical journey as well as recent hardships the singer has faced called “Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All” released on Disney+ this week.
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Sheeran has previously faced a separate copyright-infringement claim for his song “Shape of You” off of the album “Divide,” which he won. He also settled a claim that his song “Photograph” copied Matt Cardle’s song “Amazing.”